British voters have handed another independent accolade to the new Suzuki Vitara with the announcement of the 2016 Honest John Awards. The Vitara was named overall Car of the Year as well as being accorded the Most Popular Crossover model at the awards ceremony held in London.

Suzuki Vitara named car of the year

Suzuki’s latest versatile car was the popular choice by readers of the Honest John website which had more than 4,400 owner reviews posted and 2.27 million visitors to its new car review pages in the last year.

Daniel Harrison, editor of the Honest John website, said, “Our readers tell us that they want cars that are practical, well-built and honest when it comes to fuel consumption. Vitara offers all of that with a dash of style and sense of occasion.

“It’s no surprise that it’s been such a hit on the site,” he said. “This has been the most popular car of the past 12 months with our users and, from the feedback we’ve had so far, it has every reason to be our Car of the Year.

Dale Wyatt, sales and marketing director of Suzuki Great Britain, said, “Our research shows that over 65 per cent of prospective customers who test drive a Vitara will purchase one. This is certainly reflected in the great comments by Honest John users that they made the right decision.”

Launched in the UK in the first half of 2015, the Vitara has also been a strong seller since it was introduced to the New Zealand market in the fourth quarter of last year.

Honest John described the car as “a great all-rounder”, and the praise followed The Sunday Times in the UK naming the Vitara winner of the Compact Crossover category earlier this year from a survey of 100 new model cars.

The UK Specification Vitara is rated one of Europe’s safest cars according to independent crash testing results from Euro NCAP, and received the maximum 5-star rating. The new model was also the first compact SUV to earn five stars in the more rigorous 2015 Euro NCAP testing programme, reinforcing the exemplary safety level of the model.

High international demand for the Vitara has created supply constraints in all markets, including New Zealand and Australia, where the model is outselling most of its rivals.

In the first four months of this year the Vitara was the second best selling small Sport Utility Vehicle in New Zealand, achieving 17.4 per cent of the category.

Suzuki New Zealand said it had been delighted by the customer response to the model which was now the second most popular car in its range, behind the best-selling Swift.

Pricing of the Vitara range starts from a low $27,990 plus on-road costs with all models including 17” alloy wheels, SatNav audio with Bluetooth and Apple Carplay, reverse camera, and cruise control.

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